The Volley: What It Is and How to Play It - Importance of Self-confidence - The Low and High Volleys - The Lob Volley - Effective Strokes - Champions

A volley is a ball that is hit before it reaches the ground. If everyone would bear in mind that an overhead service is an overhead volley (and that from the most difficult position to volley-i.e., the back of the court), it would in all probability help to give them much greater confidence, which is certainly required in order to become a good volleyer.

This is one of the reasons why it is better for a lady player to cultivate an overhead service. It will greatly help her with her overhead volleys.

It always seems to me that a great deal more moral courage and self-confidence is needed in the execution of the volley than for the ground strokes. How often you will see a lady player miss an easy volley at the net and then lose all self-confidence immediately; she quite forgets the number of easy ground strokes. She is continually missing, and yet continues to play from the back of the court. You cannot play without making mistakes, and the best volleyers in the world miss an easy kill at times, but they do not retire at once to the back of the court as if it was hopeless for them to continue playing at the net.

Every lady player should learn how to volley, and then use the stroke judiciously in a match-not continuously, as I think that is too great a strain on the majority of lady players-but she should await her opportunity, and come up on a good length ball. The great advantage of the voile}' is the amount of time saved. You hurry your opponent, and do not give her nearly as much time to get into position again as you do when playing entirely from the back of the court. What a wonderful improvement there would be in a ladies' double if all the players volleyed as in a men's double. This would greatly improve all individual play, and make a much more interesting game, both from the players' and from the spectators' point of view.

A man always volleys from the moment he first starts learning the game, but as a rule it is the very last stroke a lady learns. I wonder why this should be so, since I am sure we lose a great deal of enjoyment through not volleying more, as, after all, it is a stroke that is quite characteristic of lawn tennis, and if you do not use it, you have shorn the game of half its fascination There are low volleys, high volleys, and lob volleys to be learnt and carefully practised For low horizontal volleys on the forehand and on the backhand you should bend down so that your eye is in a line with the flight of the ball; girls, as a rule, never crouch down low enough. The head of the racket should be above the wrist and held very firmly (the racket must be held as firmly as possible when these strokes are being made) and the arms and knees slightly bent. You must always endeavour to send the ball down and not up (except in a lob volley); therefore be as near the net as possible, so that you can hit the ball before it begins to fall. Good length is most important. Do not merely stop the ball without hitting it, as much power will then be lost, but bring the, racket back slightly, and hit the ball firmly with the centre of the racket, and follow through in the direction you wish the ball to go.

For overhead volleys and smashes on the forehand and on the backhand it is most important to watch the ball very carefully, keeping your eye fixed firmly on it, until the very last possible moment. Lift the eye a fraction of a second too soon, and the stroke will be spoiled.

I find it a great temptation to look away from an overhead volley in order to see where to put the ball, or where my opponent

A forehand overhead volley. Note the position of the ball on the racket. It is most important to watch the ball carefully until the last possible moment is in the court, but it is always a fatal mistake, and smashes are nearly always missed because of this tendency. I think one is also inclined to be too hurried over these overhead volleys. I know from experience that there is really more time for

4 Lawn Tennis 300617Another view of the forehand overhead volley stroke

Another view of the forehand overhead volley stroke. Hit the ball with the centre of the racket, and follow through in the direction it is desired that the ball should take their execution than one imagines. Try and wait longer before hitting the ball; do not hurry your stroke, and give yourself more time to take it properly, as you do in a ground stroke, and that extra second may make all the difference between a well-timed stroke and a bad one.

The position for forehand overhead volleys is practically the same as for an overhead service. The left shoulder should be facing the net, the right shoulder down, and the head and body bent well back, the weight transferred during the stroke from the ball of the right foot to the ball of the left. Balance with the left arm extended, keep your eye fixed on the ball, and hit it firmly, following well through with the arm and shoulder. The position is just the reverse for the backhand overhead volleys. Your right shoulder should face the net, your weight should be on your left foot, and you should balance with your left arm. It is a good plan when making this stroke to put your thumb down the handle of your racket, and transfer your weight from the left foot to the right and follow well through.

The lob volley is one of the most difficult strokes there is, but a most effective one. The ball is hit before it touches the ground, and is lobbed over your opponent's head. It is obvious that unless this stroke is perfectly executed, it will be an easy ball for your opponent to kill outright. It must be high enough to be out of your opponent's reach, and yet not too high, or it will give her time to run back to it.

Ladies' Doubles Champions

1885-

Mrs. Watts and Miss Bracewell.

1886 -

Miss Dod and Miss M. Langrishe.

1887 -

Miss Dod and Miss M. Langrishe.

1888 -

Miss Dod and Miss M. Langrishe.

1889 -

Miss M. Steedman and Miss B. Steed-man.

1890 -

Miss M. Steedman and Miss B. Steed-man.

1891 -

Miss L. Marriott and Miss M. Marriott.

1892 -

Miss Jackson and Miss Crofton.

1893 -

Mrs. Hillyard and Miss Steedman.

1894-

Mrs. Hillyard and Miss Steedman.

1895-

Mrs. Hillyard and Miss Steedman.

1895 -

Mrs. Hillyard and Miss Steedman.

1897-

Mrs. Hillyard and Mrs.. Pickering.

1898 -

Miss Steedman and Miss R. Dyas.

1899 -

Mrs. Durlacher and Miss Steedman.

1900 -

Mrs. Pickering and Miss Robb.

1901 -

Mrs. Pickering and Miss Robb.

1902

Mrs. Pickering and Miss Robb.

1903 -

Miss Thomson and Miss D. K. Douglass.

1904 -

Miss Thomson and Miss D. K. Douglass.

1905 -

Miss C. M. Wilson and Miss H. Lane.

1906 -

Mrs. Hillyard and Miss C. Meyer.

1907 -

Mrs. Hillyard and Miss C. Meyer.

1908 -

Mrs. Sterry and Miss Garfit.

1909 -

Miss Aitchison and Mrs. Tuckey.

1910 -

Mrs. Hudleston and Miss Garfit.

Mixed Doubles Champions

1888 -

E. Renshaw and Mrs. Hillyard.

1889 -

J. C. Kay and Miss Dod.

1890 -

J. Baldwin and Miss K. Hill.

1891 -

J. C. Kay and Miss Jackson.

1892 -

A. Dod and Miss Dod.

1893 -

W. Baddeley and Mrs. Hillyard.

1894 -

H:S. Mahony and Miss C. Cooper.

1895 -

H. S. Mahony and Miss C. Cooper.

1896 -

H. S. Mahony and Miss C. Cooper.

1897 -

H. S. Mahony and Miss C. Cooper.

1898 -

H. S. Mahony and Miss C. Cooper.

1899 -

C. H. L. Cazalet and Miss Robb.

1900 -

H. L. Doherty and Miss C. Cooper.

1901 -

S. H. Smith and Miss Martin.

1902 -

S. H. Smith and Miss Martin.

1903 -

F. L. Riseley and Miss D. K. Douglass.

1904 -

S. H. Smith and Miss Thomson.

1905 -

S. H. Smith and Miss Thomson.

1906 -

F. L. Riseley and Miss D. K. Douglass.

1907 -

N. E. Brookes and Mrs. Hillyard.

1908 -

X. E. Casdagli and Mrs. Sterry.

1909 -

X. E. Casdagli and Miss Garfit.

1910 -

J. C. Parke and Mrs. Luard.